Branching out The Conjuring series, Annabelle tells the story of a young couple and a doll that becomes possessed with evil. Mia (Annabelle Wallis) and John (Ward Horton) are a picture perfect couple living in the California suburbs. Mia is adorably pregnant and John is dutifully sweet, even giving his wife a new doll for her collection decorating the nursery. One night they’re awakened by screams. As John investigates, murderers from a satanic cult attack Mia, stabbing her belly. In the nursery, one of the murders slits her own throat while holding the new doll.
We’re led to believe that this is how the title doll became possessed with an evil spirit. I’m no expert on the fabled Annabelle Raggedy Anne doll that has been kept in a locked cabinet in the Warren’s home and blessed by a priest twice a month, but I think this particular story is not based in fact and purely it’s own yarn. To me, that takes some of the air out of this particular story, especially since most of the others within this Conjuring universe are based on real paranormal cases the Warrens have worked on.
However, while watching the film I was genuinely interested and engaged. I was genuinely worried during the home invasion scene. The jump scares with the dolls were fun. And I enjoyed yelling at Mia from my couch, asking her over and over why she left that baby alone, again. While this is an enjoyable horror movie, it’s just not that scary.
However, if you’re a new mom, this movie could be downright terrifying. I would advise that pregnant women and new moms not watch Annabelle, it can be very stressful to see a young mother struggle with this madness and a baby in danger. This could really trigger some postpartum depression and anxiety.
The one scene that I found genuinely frightening was the basement elevator scene. Here, there is a sense of foreboding and terror not just in the situation but with the creepy basement setting, which isn’t something we get in the cozy house or apartment. I was not surprised that Conjuring director James Wan directed this scene.
In the end, I find myself comparing Annabelle to a chili (yes, I know this is an odd comparison). It’s got all the ingredients for a great horror film, and I enjoyed it in the moment, but afterward I was asking if maybe it should have simmered longer. And what’s up with the hint of rosemary? There’s so much here pointing Rosemary’s Baby, (John and Mia, a satanic cult wanting the baby, ties to the Mansion murders) but the connections seem to have loose ends. I want to check out the next two Annabelle movies out of curiosity, but I don’t expect them to be much better.
“I’m old. Which means there’s very little that surprises me anymore and if it does, I’m too tired to show it.”